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  • Expression Macros

    As one of the lighting industry's most widely used lighting consoles, the Expression has built a strong following. As one of the most powerful features of the Expression, the macro has become the best option for customizing the way your Expression works for you. What follows is a list of commonly used and inventive macros submitted by Expression users.  


    Recreate the handy REMDIM function

    Basically, you need to program a macro as follows (I use M1 so it's a one button press on the riggers remote)
    At, Full, 1, Thru, x, Except, Mwait-3, At, Rel

    replace 'x' with the highest number dimmer you have.

    To explain how this works, when you have a channel up while focussing (say Channel 12) and you want to move to channel 60, you'd press 60 then M1. This would initally take 60 up to full, and then select the 1 thru 200 (for example). The wait part of the Macro is critical as this then allows you to type in the channel number again (as to make sure it's not released), and then after 3 seconds everything bar the active channel will be released, therefore giving you the new light to focus without the previous one or any of the rest of the rig.

    You could alter the M-wait time if you feel 3 seconds is too short, or too long.

    It's a bit crude but it works. It's certainly alot easier than making one channel live, then trying to remembering the previous channel, and taking that out! It's also safer than go to a B/O before bringing up the new channel.

    submitted by:: Stu Meech


    The Good Old Fashioned Channel Check

    I do channel checks with use of macros. I've written two macros. One says and the other one says . Say these are macros 3 and 4. Then what I do is set channel 1 to full. Then I can hit Macro, 3, Enter (one finger, three buttons, which may be what Jeff refered to as 3 fingers, so it may not be a better solution) which will take channel 1 out and put channel 2 at full, etc. etc. The second macro is so I can go backwards for when I lose track of what I just looked at. By recording them as macros between 1 and 5, you can do channel checks at the console itself by pushing only one button.

    submitted by:: ronn reinberg


    The Autopilot Channel Check Macro

    (not a Wybron product) A simple addition to Ronn Reinberg's channel check automates the process for those checking a rep plot night after night.

    [AT 00 + FULL MACRO WAIT 6 M(x)]

    Where (x) is the Macro number you are writing. This command loops the macro back on itself. The Macro works as follows: it takes out the current channel, moves forward a channel, takes it to full, waits 6 seconds (longer or shorter if you like), and loops back on itself.


    Channel Check with a Hot New Twist

    "I have been using Ronn Reinberg's Macro method on the Expression for years (AT 00 + FULL) with a twist; I have always inserted a preheat for the next channel (AT 00 + FULL + AT 08 -). I think this helps on lamp life, especially in colder theatres."

    Submitted by: Paul B. Marsland -- Stageworks Lighting, Ltd. --


    Auto Channel Check with Preheat

    "Similar to the channel check with a preheat, but this one will run automatically." At 00 + Full + At 10 - - At 00 + Mwait-5 M(x), where x is the macro number.

    Submitted by: Brendon Wagner --


    The "One Finger" Channel Check

    "Here's a sneaky approach: Write a cue that is linked to a macro that brings up the next channel and then calls the cue up again. You can just use the go button on the remote. MACRO: at 00 + fl cue 999 Enter Enter The cue would have no level information in it at all. The Enter Enter keystrokes at the end are a little known way to address all channels which are reading. This allows the at 00 part to work. In a previous message I left out the enter enter part. Sorry about that. There are lots of things you can do with macros that everyone seems to think are impossible..."

    Submitted by: Mark Oerter,


    Channel Check on The Microvision FX RFU

    "On the ETC Microvision FX, there is no "one-button" step function to do channel check, so this forces an operator to either write a show with the correct softpatch and a cue for each channel, or to use this simple method we found at SUNY Oswego. Put up your first channel ([Chnl] [n] [Full]) and when you want to go to the next channel, press [+] [Full] [RemDim]. This steps to the next channel, puts it and the previous channel at full (so you don't go to black for that split-second) and blacks out all the unwanted channels. The [Rel] key will take out any channel at any time in case of emergency."

    Submitted by: Matthew Willis


    Preheating with a Macro

    "I also use a macro to warm my lights the first time I turn the board on each day. By using a macro, I don't have to keep a cue loaded all the time which could get in the way when it comes to writing a show. The macro is I leave the lights burning, but if desired, the macro could be ended with an at 00. Also, we have very unresponsive dimmers, so the levels are set appropriately. For those luckey enough to have Sensors, the levels could be set somewhat lower to warm up the lights."

    Submitted by: Ronn Reinberg


    Save to Disk

    "One of the most time-saving macros I have come up with is very simple and basic. Program a macro to do a "Save to Disc". If I remember correctly (I haven't done it long-hand for a while) it saves something like 6 keystrokes?"
    [setup, 1, enter, 1, enter, stage] on the Expression series consoles
    [] on the Expression 2 series consoles

    Submitted by: "Mark Beal"


    Screen Displays from the RFU

    "I also have macros which say and That way I can get into those displays using the RFU and I don't have to run up to the console to check a patch while focusing (provided there is a remote monitor on stage with the RFU)."

    Submitted by: Ronn Reinberg


    Switching Modes

    Ed Hills writes:
    "As automation creeps into theatres, it becomes more important that the programmer & designer have the savy to be truly creative in programming options. Folllow spots have home positions in rock-n-roll, so the same should apply to I-Beams, Beamers and the like. Because most theatre boards are not set up with all the fancy wheels & the like, you can program your look into an overlapping sub, and then record that sub to activate with a macro. Attach the macro/ macros to the sequence or use it as a programing aid. As a programming aid, this allows you "goto submaster mode, activate a sub, goto channel mode" and then use the channel faders to adjust your look. Few theatre consoles allow you to have channels & subs active on the faders at the same time, so the Macro can make quick work of swapping modes."

    ETC Editors embellishment ---- Ed Hills is correct in the above ideas. An example of some simple MODE SWITCHING is to change Submaster Pages from Sub Page 1 to 2 and back. Those working in a LIVE mode may link a Macro like [PAGE 2 ENTER] to a cue. When the Cue runs, the Sub Page will be changed; placing a brand new set of looks at your fingertips.


    Loading Submasters

    Expression Consoles supply 24 submasters on 2 submaster pages for a total of 48. But some Live events may find this limiting. The Expression 2 line of consoles support a useful Macro using the [Loadsub] command. By writing a Macro which reads [LOADSUB 1 THRU 24 Cue 25 THRU 48] you bankload cue numbers 25 through 48 into subs 1 thru 24. You can do this over and over again throughout the show using different cue groups. You can also load fewer subs at a time. Make sure the number of subs specified matches the number of cues specified INCLUDING point cues in between whole numbers.

    Submitted by David Lincecum, ETC West


    Sneaky Work-Light Macro

    For an Expression 2 series console:
    "I have a series of four macros that I use to take my houselights and work lights up and down during rehearsals. Sneak (Ch#) At Full Enter Takes house or works up Sneak (Ch#) At O Enter Takes house or works down The sneak avoids popping them up."

    Submitted by: Tom Grabowski,
    University of Texas-Pan American


    Autoload Cues into Faders when they are Recorded

    For an Expression 2 series console:
    "The resident Lighting Designer in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Colorado - Boulder grew up on a Colortran Prestige 2000 and he is used to having new cues automatically load into the fader when you record them. As a Master Electrician and Board-Op, I wrote the following Macro: Enter EnableQuick GoAB DisableQuick Rel Rel. When I am recording cues for the designer after the levels have been set correctly, then I hit Record Cue# and then the Macro. The Macro finishes recording the cue then it quick steps the cue into the fader and finally releases the captured channels. You can also set times on the cue before you use the macro."

    Submitted by: Andrew Woods,
    University of Colorado - Boulder