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Top 500 Contributor
Posts 32
tadawson Posted: 04-16-2009 1:33 AM

Is is just me, or does support for HES fixtures in EOS/ION seem really, really sloppy and shoddy?  The only thing I can find that is even close to a standard X-Spot is "X-Spot/CM/RG/IS-R", whatever the heck that means, and it's a channel shy of what a correct X-Spot profile should be, and two of the four parameters for gobo wheel one are greyed out, can't be deleted or edited, and don't appear on any encoder, making gobo rotation on the wheel impossible.  Not to mention, the manual never even mentions a greyed out parameter in the fixture editor, what it means, and how to correct it. 

X-Spot Framing personalities don't exist at all, nor do the Lithomotion personalities.

For Intellabeam, the world pretty much abandoned the 8 bit personality years ago, since moves were so jerky, but surprise!  That's all that is on EOS/ION. 

Studio color looks correct, but for the life of me, I can't seem to be able to access the control channel to manage the fixture (same for I-Beam and X-Spot - especially important to be able to lamp off X-Spot correctly to allow it to cool.

Another poster here has stated that the only available Cyber personalities don't come close to what a normal Cyber runs either.

And for the personalities that do appear to be close, why in the world did someone choose to rename all the parameters/ranges/etc. from the vendor nomenclature to different, less coherent names that are very confusing to those of us used to HES fixtures?  Why, oh why, was something simple like "Focus" displayed as "Edge"?

Considering that HES has publicly documented it's DMX definitions for a long time, as well as it's nomenclature, and considering that I first saw ION/EOS at LDI '07, the excuse that "It's New" does not really fly that well any more . . . . .

One of the venues that I supply gear to and do a lot of work in just got an Ion, largely on my recommendation based on features and playing with it at LDI.  Imagine my horror when I discover that the library is so bad that it won't support much of anything that the site has without major editing . . .

Anyone else notice this?  Oh, and we are on 1.4.5, so it's not a downrev code issue either . . . .

 

- Tim

Not Ranked
Posts 9

I feel the same way. Some of these fixtures should be fairly easy to implement (particularly the older ones like the Intellibeam13).

I can write the profile myself, but I don't have the tools to set up lamp control (reset) functions. So if/when I do write a13ch profile I'll be dependent on macros to first, close the shutter, then issue the right code on the control channel, then release. The 8 channel version doesn't even support control functions - which is pretty much a necessity on a ten year old fixture.

Just my $.02

-Dave

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 32

I guess I have not gotten to the point to understand your comment about the control functions on ION/EOS in case they are implemented differently than other consoles - as far as the fixtures are concerned, there aren't any macros or anything else needed to run the control on these fixtures - just set the control channel to what you want, dimmer closed, and close the shutter and it executes . . . . that's it!  What I have not seen on the ION/EOS is access to the control channel period . . . . if it were there, I would be a happy camper, since I would then have the same level of control/access that I have on my Hog, which has served me well over the years . . . .

 

- Tim

Not Ranked
Posts 9

On a device profile which has been implemented by ETC you have a range of "Lamp Control" options. These options are not shown with the regular IFCB encoders, they have their own section.

We have a Robe Colorspot 250AT which has a wide variety of lamp control functions. IE you can reset the fixture, or tell it to relamp without resetting etc...

I don't think there's any way to write a profile which has lamp control options, but I could be wrong. I think you'd have to put reset functions in a custom parameter. Am I right about this?

-Dave

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 32

I would think that if you were to use a parameter type for the control channel that showed on an encoder, you would be good to go - simple as that.  At lease in HES stuff, there is *zero* magic in running control . . . if you have access to the shutter, control channel and dimmer, you have all you need.

Yes, the errant label would be annoying, but I can't see why it couldn't be done . . .

- Tim

Top 200 Contributor
Posts 51

Try taking an existing fixture witch is close to what you want/need, and copy it. You will then be able to edit the copy to your own preferences; dmx-mapping, bits, names, ranges, home values etc... maybe even keeping the lamp options.(?!) I'm very unshure if you keep the color-calibration from the original fixture(?). - On a lucky day you might succeed,  :-)

(you might have to restart your console in between operations... - but I think they are working on it )

tøis oslo nowhere

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 32

Well, that is part of the problem . . . for the X-Spot profile, for reasons undocumented, three critical parameters are greyed out in the definition, and can't be changed or deleted in any way, even in a copy.  They happen to include the gobo rotate functions for wheel one, which are incidentally identical in definition to wheels two and three, which ironically work.

So, making a copy provides no help - the bad parameters are still locked, and the docs say nothing about what/how/?? is going on to get in that state . . . leaving the only other choice to start from scratch, which is no fun on a 38 channel fixture . . . . .

For the 13 channel I-Beam, I may try your suggestion, since the main diff is that pan and tilt become 16 bit, but alas, the 13th missing channel is the control channel, so there is nothing to steal from the 8 channel profile. 

I read that the imported fixture personalities are ASCII files . . . anyone seen a document on the structure of these files?  Myself, I find the fixture editor in the console cumbersome and annoying, and would personally prefer to be able to create ASCII files, since then I could import data from the Mfg. or other console definitions and not have to type every last bloody character . . . .

- Tim

Top 50 Contributor
Posts 290

Hi Tim

Sorry to hear that you are not having much fun with the Ion.  I toured one for 8 months with very little grief.
Not sure how much experience you have had with the Ion, but just a couple of things that might help you out.... (apologies if this is info you already know)

Lamp controls / control channel functions are accessed via the lamp controls page.  Firstly, select the fixture you want to control.  Then, press the [more SK] buttons.  On the LCD display above the softkeys, there should be a section that says "Lamp Ctrls". (I think it's above the [S2] button).  This will bring up the lamp control screen in the CIA.  From here you can lamp on/off, reset, and other control channel functions.

To access the gobo rotate modes on the Ion, press and hold the Gobo Mode encoder.  The LCD will repopulate and there should be a button that says "mode"  Press the softkey underneath to cycle thru the different gobo modes.  This applies for any parameter that has mode selections on any fixture (eg, Iris, Gobos, FX modes, strobe, etc)

With regards to naming of parameters, all parameters are named the same across all fixtures.  One of the main ones you have noticed is the use of "Edge" instead of "Focus".  In Eos/Ion world, Focus refers to Pan+Tilt (ie Focus Pallets).  I believe "Edge" was used to be more concise and avoid confusion.  eg If a LD says change the focus... are they talking about the position of the lamp, or the sharpness of the beam.  While this is different from other consoles, it doesn't take long to get use to.... 

If you are after a particular fixture profile, the chaps at ETC can put one together for you.  Send them an email, or try contacting Anne Valentino.  I've always found them more then happy to help out.

Hope that helps you out somewhat and your experience gets better in the near future.

Cheers
BFJ 

Brent Forsstrom-Jones
Top 500 Contributor
Posts 32

I'll give that a try to get to rotate, but it is inconsistent . . . across the pages of "Beam" parameters, page one gives only two of the four parameters for wheel one - if you can press to select the second, well, ok . . . . silly since there are four encoders, but at least it would work . . .

Page 2 gives all four parameters on four wheels for gobo wheel two.

Page 3 gives all four parameters on four wheels for gobo wheen three.

At the very least, it's inconsistent for this fixture - all three wheels have the same parameters, yet at minimum, are presented differently.

 

And it appears that *STILL* nobody can tell me what the particular parameters in the fixture profile editor being greyed out and totally unalterable means, or how to get around that . . . . and ironically, those are the *EXACT* parameters that don't display for X-Spot.

 

Don't get me wrong - I like the console overall, but the learning curve is a bit steep, and the manual could be better.  I was the one who recommended this console to this client based on a console search at LDI 2007 . . . . and a part of my frustration is having my neural patterns semi-permanently burned in with Hog-2 operation, making anything else seem wrong . . . .

Oh, and for the lamp parameters, I found those, but as others have said, nowhere is there any information on how to implement lamp parameters for fixtures you have to create yourself . . . . if it's even possible . . . .

I guess on the focus/edge thing, it depends where you are coming from . . . to me, moving a lamp in a fixture is "tuning" or "peaking" and the term "focus" only came in on movers, where it is definitively altering sharp/soft on a gobo or other image, similar to moving the barrel on a leko.  Yeah, I can get used to it, it's just that when you own and are used to a certain brand of fixtures/movers, and they have a certain nomenclature for naming of parameters, it is nice to have your console follow what the Mfg. used.  That's one of the nice things about the Hog - you don't have to be locked into names - you can use anything and still have things place correctly, since a wheel/parameter name and it's type are separate declarations.

I think this will get better with time, but I do need to get these two profiles from ETC, or my mover rig is basically 80% useless at this point . . . .

- Tim

Top 50 Contributor
Posts 272

Tim,

I looked real hard to find a standard X-spot on the High End site.  I could only find X-Spot Xtreme.  However- on page 17 of this manual:

http://www.highend.com/pub/products/automated_luminaires/Xspot/docs/Xtrememanual.pdf there is a Drawing labeled Standard Configuration.  It lists the three standard modules as: Color Mixing, Rotating Gobo, Rotating Gobo and Iris.  I'm pretty sure that is whatever the heck is meant by CM/RG/IS-R.  This manual says it uses 38 outputs, and so does the fixture profile.  

I'm assuming you have some units that have the Framing/Iris Mod in slots 2/3, and some that have the Litho/Iris mod in slot 3 (they are mutually exclusive aren't they?)  It looks like Framing/iris units take 37 outputs while the Litho/iris ones take 38.  It also looks like most of the parameters line up to similar functions- position, rotate, coarse, fine.  I bet if you address all the fixtures to the standard config, and patch them as such, you'd find everything on the wheels somewhere.  Most importantly, you'l have the Lamp controls.

But keep in touch with ETC Tech Support and they'll get a correct profile for you in time.  

Brent Smith Tennessee Performing Arts Center
Top 25 Contributor
Posts 417

Hi Tim,

The parameters which are grayed out in the fixture editor cannot be altered because something, generally lamp controls, is depending on them.  We have added the ability to fully edit lamp controls in the soon-to-be-released version 1.5.  Sorry for your frustration. 

 

Ann Foster

Senior Software Engineer II / Eos Team Lead

Electronic Theatre Controls, Inc.

Top 500 Contributor
Posts 32

Ann -

     Thanks for the insights!  I would accept the explanation for the greyed out items, but on the HES stuff, the only things that have a requirement for control fuctions are the dimmer, the shutter, and the control channel, and what is greyed out are gobo wheel mode, and gobo mode proper, as well as the lamp control channel (which controls how the fixture dims and/or strobes - exclusive to the main control functions.

     What I would *still* like an explanation for is the inconsistency of the gobo wheels and encoder assignments that I have seen - once again, the X-Spot (and yes, I have Xtreme's - the DMX channel layout is the same for all - the XTreme was mainly an optical upgrade) has three gobo/effect wheels, and all three have the same four control parameters - gobo select, gobo wheel mode, gobo index/rotate, and gobo rotate mode.   On wheel one, it appears (thanks to the earlier poster mentioning this!) that you hold down the gobo select encoder, and get the "mode" soft key, and can vary the mode parameters, and this wheel shows on two encoders.  For wheels two and three, you get all four parameters on four encoders, and holding in any encoder does nothing.  It appears that there is some macro control code embedded in "Gobo Wheel Mode" but not in "Gobo Wheel 2 Mode" or "Gobo Wheel 3 Mode" which makes the control of these three wheels very inconsistent.  Yes, it can be worked around, but myself, I would prefer the four parameters on four encoders, and leave the macro code and pressing and holding on the floor, unused, but I can't see a way to do this, and the "Gobo Wheel Mode" tag has this irrevocably embedded in it, not to mention that due to the embedded functions, you can't copy the fixture and use a different parameter, since you can't delete "Gobo Wheel Mode"!!!

    Hardly fatal, but *VERY* *VERY* frustrating for a product that is at least 1-1/2 years old!

    The ability to have more access to control functions will be nice!  Any idea when 1.5 is expected?  If nothing else, the ability to do it "The hard way" would be nice too, and would require zero coding.    A document specific to fixture creation, both on the console, and via ASCII definitions would be huge too!

- Tim

Not Ranked
Posts 9

afoster:

...We have added the ability to fully edit lamp controls in the soon-to-be-released version 1.5....

Woohoo! Does that include performing multi-step actions? (IE: Close the shutter, then signal the reset)

-Dave

Top 75 Contributor
Posts 173

Tim

As this has been quiet, I wanted to check and see how things were going.  It looks like some of the commentary has helped sort some of the issues, but I want to clear up any others that are outstanding.  The following is not in any particular order and if there is more you need please do not hesitate to contact me.

One of the underlying goals of the libraries was to create a mechanism for normalising the user experience with moving lights to help reduce the learning curve on any given fixture.  As I am sure you appreciate, each moving light manufacturer has their own theory of control and specific implementation.  We want to expose fixtures as people think about the functions.  This manifests in the way data is displayed and controlled.  Pan and Tilt for example display in degrees while Gobo functins appear in text such as Spin or Rotate. In order to achieve this fully, each fixture in the library has been characterized fully.  That amount of data precludes the personalities from being a simple ASCII file any longer.

The goal for the Fixture Editor was to provide a mechanism to create a simple fixture or tweak an existing one for your need.  In the coming release, Version 1.5, we have added the ability to edit control functions, including the multi-step functions (macros) for lamp control operations.  This has been much commented on by our users.  There will continue to be some parameters that are non-editable.  In some cases this will be a mode control extrapolated from aDMX ranging of a given parameter. 

In some cases parameters are added for normalization.  In particular, any time we encounter the combination of RGB or CMY, the library adds Hue, Saturation, and Brightness (intensity) to the color field.  This way all of the devices in the rig can be mixed in a common color space.  Because of this you can select multiple types of moving lights and LED fixtures and assign them to the closest possible match of R80 in front of a 3200K tungsten source.

For the Intellabeam 11 Channel personality, I did some research today.  It appears this was never a prt of the base family and has not been requested for the desk.  I was actually fairly surprised to find this.  I have entered a request for this fixture to be included in 1.5.  If  waiting is an issue, please contact me directly so we can discuss your needs.

I have also spent a good bit of time looking at the X-Spot personality.  I have been through the manual and do not see any reference to a Framing option or the control for said.  A prowl through the High End website did not yield any answers either.  We can create a personality for your fixture, but would need the specifics.  I will be contacting High End to get more detail on this unless you have the data close to hand.

Your observations on the wheels are excellent and very accurate.  I cannot answer your question as to why the wheels are behaving differently.  I agree that all three should present identically.  I will be going through the source code of the library looking for an answer.  Once I find it I will let you know and if we find a defect with the library, we wil aim to correct in 1.5.

Please feel free to contact me with any other concerns or comments,

j

 

John Hessler

Acceptance Test Specialist

Top 75 Contributor
Posts 152

In no particular order...

The preferred mode for the Intellabeam 700HX fixture is 13ch. extended DMX mode, not 11 channels.  This has matched the WholeHogII library since at least 1999.

I think everyone can appreciate the difficulty in writing real-world values for fixture personalities, but thank you for the condescension.  I'm still waiting to see a list of fixtures and modes that come included with Eos/Ion, and which personalities are available for download.

Recently, on the LightNetwork forum, Brad Schiller and Scott Blair defended Barco's position of not releasing their fixtures' DMX protocols to the general public.  Agree or disagree, it made for an interesting read.

Perhaps it's erroneous, but a perception exists that writing one's own, or obtaining a pre-written, fixture personality is difficult.  ETC needs to work to change either the perception or the fact, whichever applies.

 

 

Check out my site at derekleffew.com.

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