This week on the podcast we have our Q & A Tuesday when we take your questions and answer them here on the show. We will cover a variety of topics such as DMX Pro, visualizers and so much more!
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Main Segment (6:40)
Questions are submitted through the contact form on Learn Stage Lighting. If you have a question you would like to share be sure to submit it here, Contact Form.
Del (6:43): Hi. I run showxpress and I was wondering if I have to use DMX-AN or can I use another brand for the Artnet?
What I like about using Artnet and sACN is that it’s DMX over network. With ShowXpress you do have to purchase their USB box and there isn’t a free version available.
You can use another brand when using Artnet because it is an open network and doesn’t apply to just certain brands.
Jon (8:44): What is a good, entry-level visualizer to use with the Single Universe USB To DMX Interface For Hog 4 Consoles Or Hog 4 PC?
You may have to do some research as I don’t follow Hog as much as I do the other ones. When working with a visualizer you have to get send the data into the visualizer through Artnet node or plugging in the USB and it unlocks that universe. You do want to double-check this as I am not sure if this is possible.
Worst case scenario you would have to get an Artnet node that will allow you to send the data back into your console. When it comes to visualizers there really isn’t a beginner visualizer. One that I do recommend is Capture and I mention it a lot here.
I’ve been working in lighting for many years both as a hobbyist and as a professional. Visualizers have come a long way but for a while having a visualizer wasn’t a tool that we had available to us for a long time.
This is a question I do get a lot and I have to say, you don’t need a visualizer to pre-program your show. Up until about two years ago I never had that option but even now I still program shows without a visualizer.
If you build these presets, pallets, and different looks you can have a library of different looks available to you. The skill is having a process and setting up the cues that I want to have built into my pallets.
While you may be able to put in colors, gobos, and effects to be close to what you want the secret is setting the positions of your lights. This is when skill does set in of knowing how your lights work and being able to set those to where you want without using a visualizer.
Emanuele (15:22): I like D-Pro but has no 3d visualizer. Has it?
D-Pro is a great console but no it does not have a visualizer that comes with. As I mentioned earlier with Jon’s question is that you don’t have to have a visualizer to pre-program your show.
Rodney (16:29): I have a quad Gem dmx. When I plug it up it comes on for about 4seconds then blinks back off.
I have a couple of possible solutions for you. If you’re not plugged into DMX and you have it set on an automatic mode then you do want to contact the manufacturer.
If it’s plugged into DMX and it does this then it may be that the console is turning the light off which means that you do have control of the light. Then you do want to check the light manual, troubleshooting, and make sure that everything is set up properly.
Lastly, if you are still having issues then I would unplug everything from the console and plug that light directly into your console. If you do have control of the light then the issue may be your cables and cords.
David G. (18:14): For reasons I can’t control. I am unable to move the lighting system. So I am looking to get a way to plug my DMX dimmer to pc and get a visual like effect (feedback only) so I can properly program the dimmer deck. Can this be done so the DMX output of the dimmer will register as a visualizer only on the pc? Thank you in advance.
Yes, you can check this article, So You Want a Lighting Visualizer. With most visualizers, the pricing is very similar. Personally, Capture is one that I recommend to a lot of members.
Scott M (19:37): Hey David I’m not even a novice–I’m a dinosaur. Further complication is that I don’t want to control lighting. I have 4 DMX controllable flame projectors & want to add 4-6 Shoven spark machines which I’m sure you know are just cold spark fountains. I have bought a DMX controller (looks just like a keyboard?). It’s wireless and I have bought wireless units for the flame projectors. But what now? What goes where & what makes it go bang? Like I said I’m old and don’t have a clue. Can you or more accurately will you please direct me where to go or what to do?
Personally, I never recommend running flame projectors with DMX unless you have full insurance coverage for what could possibly go wrong. I’ve seen things go wrong with the equipment and bad things have taken place. Therefore, I never recommend controlling flame projectors with DMX especially with those that are still learning.
The cold spark fountains do appear to safer and are becoming more popular. To get started I would suggest going out and purchasing some DMX cables to make sure everything works the way it needs to. Once you are able to confirm that everything works you can then introduce wireless.
First, you want to get the manuals out for your DMX controller and the fountains to make sure the DMX addresses for the fixtures are set up correctly. Then, for the spark machine manual, it should have listed the channels and which channel will do what.
Geoff (23:19): Hi David. I have a question, I have a Max Par Bar 4 x3 LED.. the 4 heads are daisy-chained so only one DMX cable to the bar. I haven’t yet bought a DMX board (going to). I don’t know how to get each of the 4 units to be different colours (and possibly actions) at the same time. I know they can be different colours because the images of the item in some listings for sale show that it can: https://djcity.com.au/product/max-parbar-4×3-dmx-wash-lighting-set/ can you point me in the right direction as how to get different colour lights simultaneously.. thanks in advance.
What I am guessing is that you are plugging the light into the unit. You see that it only pulls up one color. When working with DMX is that it normally takes up to 15 DMX channels. If you are working with a band then I do recommend checking out ENNTEC’s DMXis, How to Program with DMXis.
You’ll then have DMX channels and every channel will offer a different function. There will be 2 channels to control the whole bar, and then 3 channels for each different color. This particular unit only has 8 DMX channels which may not be a good sign, but you may need to check the spec sheet. But be sure to check the manual and it should give you more information on what the unit can do.
Chuck (29:35): Having trouble programming my mini kinta with an obey 6
These are both Chauvet units and the first thing is checking the user manual for the mini kinta. Inside of page 11, you will see DMX Modes and Assignments. It is a 3 channel mode and on page 10 it tells you exactly how to set up the DMX address.
Once you set up the DMX address you will have full control and be able to set up the different functions.
Johns (32:49): Hello David, I will like to ask two questions. Can I use Cat 5 cable to send DMX data from controller to lights? Can I use a channel on my snake to send DMX data from Controller to lights, will it cause interference with the sound system?
For both of the questions, the answer is mostly yes. With Cat 5 cable you want to use the Cat E cable and you can use this with DMX adapters. This will work just fine.
For the second question, yes you can but it’s similar to using a microphone cable for a DMX signal. The downfall to using this is that it will cause the signal to degrade. If you only have a few lights and going less than 100 feet then you will probably be able to get it to work for a while. Just know that it’s not guaranteed and if you start having issues with your lights it’s probably the cable.
Darren (35:54): First off thanks for all the videos I just recently bought DPro and I am trying to use an APC40. I downloaded the little program from gilt to change the mode of the controller. The problem that I am having is running it on my MacBook. I can use it just fine on my pc but not on my Mac. I saw that there is a little file that u have to install for Mac and I did that to no prevail. Do know of any idea on what could be wrong or do u know how to contact the guy that made the crack.
A crack would more reference doing something illegal but instead, you are trying to contact the person who created the mode.
What you need to is download java and you can do this by searching “download java”. This is good to use when working with an older program. Once you download this you should be able to get this to work on your Mac.
Dan (37:25): I help out a non profit that has an annual awards ceremonies. We need more light on stage and I’m looking for suggestions on what we can by on a budget. We also want to avoid blocking views with structures and the hotels also dont allow us to mount stuff on walls. The stage usually looks like this https://photos.app.goo.gl/HzbGvVQKtRffQ6FD7
If you are able to help suggest something, thanks.
So, you would first want to work on the wash for the back of the stage. For your particular setup, you may want to look into getting a couple of ellipsoidal units and set them on a stand.
If you are working in a wide space you can 3 or 4 of these units and set them up towards the back fo the room. The downside is that this may partially blind those that will be on the stage but it will work.
If you are working in a more narrow space, you can set the lights up on the side of the stage and try to set them up as high as you can.
Thank you so much for listening today and I really appreciate you stopping by today to join us.
As I mentioned earlier, I am working to push the podcast more and if you enjoy the episodes please consider joining as a Learn Stage Lighting Patreon. Every little bit helps and I would love to get back to 4 episodes a month with the 2 Q&A episodes and then 2 interview episodes.
Out next podcast episode we will be doing an interview with a friend right here in town that is a DJ. We cover some great topics such as lighting on a budget and working with different consoles, we will see you then!