I am not a lighting professional.
I a computer programmer by trade, and a audio/video hobbits. I volunteer at my
church to run our lighting system. By watching the tutorials and reading the
books I’ve learned how to run the SmartFader ML for our purposes. We currently have 4
Intelligent lights (Elation Spot 250’s), 10 LED color mixing lights, and 20
standard PARS and such. We are portable church that sets up and tears down
Here is my question…
We are moving into a new facility
that has existing lighting. It is a theater with approximately 200 standard
lights (meaning no moving, intelligent, or color mixing). They currently have
an ETC Express board in the control room. I see a cat5 cable and 2 DMX cables
plugged into the back.
What I want to know is, what is
the best way to user their lights and our lights together? Ideally I’m
wondering if it is possible to simply use the DMX out from the Express board
into the SFML board and patch their lights with ours? It appears most of their
lights are connected via Ethernet to the board so I assume I need to use the
board (or some other ETC device) to convert the Ethernet to DMX for the SFML to
Thanks in advance for any
suggestions you have.
Hi there -
The Ethernet cable you see coming from the Express console is probably only connecting to a remote video interface, however it's possible its connecting to some DMX distribution equipment as well. Since the Express supports two universes of DMX output, and you say there are two DMX cables plugged into the back of the console, this leads me to believe the Ethernet is not distributing any show data.
You can integrate your system with theirs a couple of ways. If there's space in the patch of the Express, you could connect your lights via DMX and run it all through the Express (assuming that there are enough control channels in the Express, you don't mention which model it is). However, if you have become accustomed to using the palettes, fan and effect features of your SFML console, you probably don't want to do this. The best thing to do is probably to use the Express for the conventional dimmers and use the SFML for your Elation and LED fixtures and program them separately. Depending on how you use your SFML console during services, you could program a stack and then trigger the GO on the SFML using MIDI out of the Express. Or, you can run both consoles as separate units, pressing GO on the Express for conventional cues and running your SFML as you would normally..
Does that help?
Market Manager, GmbH
Hi Sarah - Thanks for the quick reply.
Yes you were very helpful, I think I understood everything you
said. Here is some more info. [I can get more info (like the model number) or
anything else you need, but I don't have it right now].
As far as using the Express, I’d prefer not to for the
reasons you mentions about using the SFML features (palettes, effects, etc),
and since we are a portable church using this High School, the less we disturb the
better. (We have to leave it as if we where never there)
I apologize I do not have all the specific hardware info,
but I appreciate you helping me figure this out. Let me just give you a little
more info on what I saw. All of the lighting control hardware was ETC. Next to the
Express was an ETC branded desktop PC running some software (like SmartSoft)
with a virtual board on the monitor. Of course the Express had its own
dedicated monitor. Also next to the Express was a ETC branded black box with fixed
buttons for House Lights & Work Lights. On stage there is another ETC box
(rack mounted?) with similar buttons for house lights, work lights, but also
has stage light faders (you could manually bring up all the stage lights with
this independent of the Express). Below is what looked to be two network
switchs with a half dozen Ethernet cables plugged into them. All around
the stage there were vacant DMX plugs and next to each DMX plug would be an
Ethernet plug as well. Looked similar to the ones you show here: http://www.etcconnect.com/product.overview.aspx?ID=20367.
For what it’s worth all the lighting power used stage pin
connectors and had multiple numbered vacant outlets throughout the stage.
So based on that it seems like the lighting is controlled
via DMX and Ethernet? I was also hoping since
the entire place is prewired, we could plug our lights into their DMX outlets
and not have to run our own cables to the SFML.
One other question, assuming the Ethernet is used for
lighting control, is there an option to bypass the Express all together and just
plug the SFML into some DMX to Ethernet converter? To say it another way, when
we show up we plug into their existing stage DMX outlets, and unplug the Ethernet
(and DMX?) from their Express into our system?
Hi Joe -
That is a lot of info - thanks! It sounds like they have an Express with Emphasis there and that they are using ETCNet2 to distribute DMX around the theatre. I'm now curious about the DMX cables coming from the Express console....
I'm going to suggest that you give our fine folks in Tech Services a call, and I would recommend that you have the name of the shool and its location with you when you make the call. They can look up the job and tell you the best way to connect up to the network so you don't have to use separate DMX cables for your SmartFade ML system. They can be reached at 800/688-4116, just ask for phone support.
Will do. Thanks for you help.