Does anyone who tours a lot know a program you can use to convert your shows between different express series boards to avoid the tedious need to type cues in every time you run into a board for which you do not have a disk? Thanks!~Kate
ETC has free software, the Obsession II Off-Line Editor, that reads the OBII disk and can convert the show file to a USITT ASCII Cue file. You can then (in theory) use ETC's Expression Off-Line Editor to import the ASCII file and be saved in any of the Express series, Expression II & III as well as Insight II & III consoles. I believe that Obsession I console show files cannot be converted to USITT ASCII.
Both OBII and Expression OLE are Windows only (No Mac) software. You will also need a 3.5" floppy drive to read and save as show disk. Note that both consoles use standard formatted High Density, Double Sided disks.
One big trick to all console reads is to make sure the channel count to is the lowest possible for the most basic Express console you expect to encounter, say 125 channels for the 125 channel Express that might be a common rental unit. Channels higher then the console is capable of get stripped away in the import.
In any case, if you are on tour, keeping a set of disks for both Obsession II and Express/Ion consoles saves you a ton of time, provided you are not making constant changes and need to update into both formats.
FWIW, I have successfully converted a Strand 500 series console disk into a USITT ASCII file that was imported to an Express with Emphasis. Only issues I had was the part cue format in the Strand file was different then the ETC format, with those (few) cues needing to be re-written. Expression and Insight also have expanded multi-part capabilities then Express and you can have problems here as well.
In general, I always have had success getting any basic Expression and Express show disk to read into my Express/Emphasis system.
What Steve says is true and is extremely useful. If you are willing to go to the trouble you can also edit a show file in ASCII format with any text editor. I have used this method for transferring Patch for example. If you have a plot you send ahead and your local head elec. has already patched your show in his/her console, you can use a text editor to copy that Patch into your show file and save you the hassle of re-writing it. For whatever reason, some consoles do not let you "load all but patch." At any rate, it is a very useful tool to have a Windows laptop with all the ETC offline software and a text editor on it. Good luck!!
NCSA Lighting Faculty
Head of Lighting Technology
Blah, blah, blah
I have never had luck with a text editor with an ASCII file and if there any suggestions as to which program works best - I.E. - MS Word, Wordpad, etc...
There's also another way to do this (patch transfer) if you happen to be a user of either Lightwright 3 or 4: (Noting that I'm not at the PC that has all these programs on it). It assumes that the Lightwright patch is correct for the theater you are using. If the theater uses LW then ask for the file with the correct channel to dimmer patch, or ask the head electrician to do this for you.
1) Use the Expression OLE to read and then convert and save the incoming show file in ASCII format, from the diskette.
2) Export the patch out of LW 3/4, adding an .asc extension to the file name (LW doesn't do this).
3) Open/Create a new show file in Expression Off-Line.
4) Import/Read the show ASCII file.
5) Import/Read the LW file as an ASCII import.
The LW file will layer itself over the ASCII cue file, without changing the cues. It will over-write the patch.
This can be useful too if you are a road house that uses Lightwright and Express/ion consoles, as you can create a Master console file in Expression OLE that has whatever system size is appropriate as well as the assorted Macro's that are pertinent to the space and console. You can then use that Master file as the basis for a new show disk with the cues and appropriate patch. Saves hours.
MS Word is quite possibly the worst text editing package in the history of the Universe.
Notepad is not very good either due to the filesize limitation and the fact it uses the MS-DOS standard for end-of-line (LF and CR).
I can thoroughly recommend ConTEXT - while primarily aimed at computer programmers, I find it very good for editing USITT ASCII files (and XML files from other sources).
Keep on trying till you run out of cake.
ETC Field Service, London
Thanks for the suggestion
In fact, I've just put together a highlighter for Congo 4.3 in ConTEXT.
Extract the attached file into the /ConTEXT/Highlighters folder, and whenever you open an Congo showfile it will highlight the labels used within the file.
- This is provided without any support, although suggestion are appreciated.
"Hey- Thanks for the advice. I have been able to now convert from obII to exp, how do I go the other way?"
Good news about the transfer and I'm going to take a stab and say, in Expression Off-Line, write/save the file as ASCII, then import to OBII Off-Line as ASCII.
Never done it, so let us know how it works (grin).
Unfortunately, there is no way to input ASCII to Obsession II Offline. I don't work for ETC, but I believe ASCII output was added to version 5.2 Offline as an "upgrade path" to Eos. That's why they went to so much effort to create and implement the many ASCII extension-keywords that weren't part of the elderly ASCII standard.
The only way to create an Obsession show from ASCII is to contact one of the people who've written software to do it themselves.
Timothy Buchman (retired)NY City Center Theaterhttp://secondcut.home.att.net/
@ Tbuchman ~ thanks for your insight into this dilemma. As much as I'd like to employ your services, over time, it's cost-prohibitive. For example, I might need the same piece of rep with different cue numbers multiple times over a couple of years, combined with a wide variety other pieces from the rep. Doing it myself is cheapest, but takes a long time and keeps me from doing other work.
@ ETC personnel: Is it not possible to help out the masses of folks who have years of repertory in OBS II format and no inexpensive way to manipulate that data back into the OBS II console in varying ways? I'd happily settle for an offline ASCII import, with no channel moving options. That at least would get my cues for the next rep from three different years into the console with minimal cost/effort.
Resident Designer OBT
Michael, I realize that I don't have full information on your console operation needs. But as a long-time operator, I'd like to risk your ire by making a few alternative suggestions:
No question, Obsession I is painfully slow in reading in a show. But Obsession II is so much faster, why don't you just keep one ballet at a time in the board? Even in a ballet pause, I've always had time to load an (Obsn I) hard-disk show before anyone had to wait on me. (That is, I'd put up the color-change submaster before disking, and be ready with the new show before the color-change guys were now free for shutter cuts) And I believe that irritating fader-clear bug is long gone from Obsession II. I think most dance theater board ops are used to ignoring the hundreds digit in what the stage manager says. But companies that have adopted the one-ballet-per-disk show (like Paul Taylor, for example) seem to prefer that, to having different hundreds digits to read in different repertoires.
On the other hand, I understand that Alvin Ailey (...EOS) likes the idea of putting each ballet on a different cue list and having the entire repertoire in the board at all times! But I know that they are tremendously efficient users of time, and might very well work on three ballets that won't even be set or danced on stage "today", while a new set is being changed into for some fourth ballet. They have always used macros to control special patches, so they already didn't need to segregate many patches from different ballets.
Perhaps the biggest need for renumbering is creation of cues for one-off galas, or programs with multiple excerpts from multiple ballets. I didn't normally run Obsession II, but doesn't the relatively recent availability of selective cue import of disk-shows eliminate a lot of manual work for you? I ask that question partly out of ignorance.