At regular intervals while you are programming, and when you have finished programming (or you've run out of time) and it's show time, the most important thing is to save the show. It is wise to also make a separate copy of show by saving it to a USB drive, enabling you to swap to a different console if there are problems.
When you are running your show you will need to know where everything is. Use the Legend functions to set on-screen labels, or you can't beat the low tech method of marker pen and tape.
If the console is fitted with a Grand Master Fader, this controls the intensity of all output from the console. Normally you would use it to quickly fade out all the lights.
The Grand Master fader is disabled by default. It can be enabled in the User Settings if required.
The Pearl Expert has additional master faders: Swop and Flash masters control intensity of the swop/flash buttons; Preset master controls intensity of the preset faders; Playback master controls intensity of all playbacks.
Any playback fader on the console can be assigned to act as a master fader, which allow you to set the overall intensity of various areas of the console. Different types of master fader are available:
Grand Master controls the intensity of all output from the console.
Swop and Flash masters control intensity of the swop/flash buttons
Preset master controls intensity of the preset faders
Playback master controls intensity of all playbacks.
To assign master faders, from the System menu select Assign Masters, or press then Create Master.
By default, master faders are stored on the fader page where you created them and will not be accessible from other fader pages. It is often useful to set the master to have a lock or a transparent lock, which makes the master fader remain in position even when the playback page is changed. You can set this from the Options screen for the master, see Handle Paging.
On the Diamond 9, the rotary encoders at the sides of the touchscreen (or on the Arena the rotary encoders beside the Mini Screen) are very useful as speed masters or group masters - press the encoder to select it as a master. Press the Display button below the encoders to show legends for the encoders on the screen if they are not already shown (there are 4 display modes to cycle through).
If you assign a master to a handle with an LED, the LED will flash if the fader is at zero... just as a reminder to help you work out why no lights are coming on.
Playbacks can be assigned to a Speed Master and/or a Size Master which allow you to control the speed and size of shapes or effects stored in a cue (or in the case of chases, to modify the speed of the chase).
There are twelve possible Speed Masters and four Size Masters which allow you to separately control the parameters of different playbacks, if you need to – for example Rate Master 1 could be assigned to control position shapes, Rate Master 2 to dimmer shapes, and so on.
A playback is assigned to a Speed/Size Master by pressing Effects then Speed Source or Size Source in the playback Options. The following speed sources are available:
Free Run (default - no Speed Master. Effect runs at programmed speed)
BPM 1-8 (override the local speed with a fixed value from the master)
Rate 1-4 (proportionally modify the local speed using the master)
LocalClock - the playback is set to Tap Tempo mode and all other speed settings are ignored. Using Key Profiles you can assign one of the playback buttons to Tap Tempo mode, and then set the effect speed by tapping the button. Effects will synchronise to the tap.
There is also a Rate Grand Master which, if used, proportionally controls the speed of any effect or chase (whether or not they have a BPM or rate master assigned).
To use Speed or Size Masters you will need to assign some handles on the console to act as the Master faders:
- Press .
- Press Create Master.
- From the softkeys select the type of master you want to create.
- Press the Select button of the handle you want to be the master.
On Pearl Expert or Tiger Touch 1, press Avo and Disk together to switch the console to System mode and select Assign Masters.
Special key profile options are available to set what the buttons do on Speed Masters, BPM Masters default to Tap Tempo.
Speed or Size masters can have various scales, 0-100%, 0-200% and so on. A 0-200% scale would allow you to slow down and speed up the speed to double the programmed setting. Scales are set in normal (non-system) mode by pressing Options (or Options softkey) then press the Select button of the master.
BPM masters can have multipliers or dividers set which allows you to vary how the tapped speed relates to the effect speed. To modify the options, press Options (or Options softkey) at the top level menu then press the blue button of the BPM master.
Normally the BPM master fader sets the BPM, and the multiplier is shown below. Tapping the blue button will also set the BPM or you can enter BPM on the keypad and press the blue button of the master to set it. This is how a BPM master looks
with the BPM set by the fader:
The BPM On Fader/Multiplier on Fader option sets the master so that the fader now controls the multiplier and the BPM is set by tapping. This is how the master looks when set to Multiplier on Fader:
The Multiplier Scale option now allows you to set the range of multipliers/dividers which can be set on the fader -- from x2-/2 to x32-/32.
The Keep Multiplier On Tap/Reset Multiplier On Tap option sets whether the multiplier should be reset to "x1" when a new speed is tapped.
In the Times tab of User Settings, there is an option "Compensate for Rate Grand Master" which comes into play if you have assigned a Rate Grand Master set to less than 100%. If the option is On (default), a tapped tempo will come out at the speed you tapped and will not be scaled by the Rate Grand Master. If the option is Off, when you tap a tempo, it would then be scaled down by the Rate Grand Master.
You can adjust Intensity, Size, Rate and BPM masters from the wheels by pressing Connect followed by the Select button of the master. This is useful for making fine adjustments to the setting of a master. For a BPM master you can also adjust "Edge Sync" which allows you to nudge the synchronisation forwards or backwards.
While a wheel is connected you can touch up or down in the wheel display area to nudge the value up or down. Pressing the @ button for the wheel opens a softkey menu where you can input a numerical value or Release the speed and multiplier to default values.
Using Key Profiles you can set one of the buttons of the master to act as the "Connect" button.
Playbacks can be assigned to groups. This allows you to create a set of playbacks which automatically switch off other playbacks in the same group. This can be useful when you have playbacks setting colours on executor buttons so only the most recent playback stays active, or to make life easier when busking so you don’t end up with lots of playbacks fired which have superseded each other.
On a console with motorised faders, the faders for the killed playbacks will return to zero. Otherwise the LED in the playback’s select button will go out to show that the playback is now inactive.
First open the Playback Groups workspace by double pressing Open/View then press Playback Groups from the window select buttons.
- Press the + button. This creates a new empty playback group in the left pane.
- Press the new group button (if this is your first group it will be Playback Group 1)
- Press the button at the bottom right of the window to place the group into edit mode.
- Select the playbacks to include in the group by pressing their select buttons once. The playbacks will appear in the workspace as you select them.
- Press Exit when you have finished adding playbacks.
The playback selection toggles while in edit mode so you can remove a playback by pressing its select button again. You can also remove a playback by pressing its button in the groups window while in edit mode.
You can also create a playback group using the Group button – press Group,Playback Groups, Record playback group. Then select the required playbacks which will highlight, then press Store.
You can set the legend or halo for a playback group by pressing the Set Legend softkey then the group button in the left pane of the workspace.
You can fire playbacks (when not in edit mode) by pressing the playback buttons in the Playback Groups window.
When a playback is part of a group, an asterisk * is shown at the end of the playback legend to help you remember which playbacks are in groups.
From the Playback Groups workspace, select the group to be edited on the left then press thebutton bottom right to edit it.
The playbacks in the group highlight and you can toggle them in and out of the group using their select buttons.
There are also softkeys to set the User Number and Legend for the group.
- To delete the entire playback group, press Delete then the group button in the left hand pane of the workspace. To confirm click the group button again, or click Confirm or press Enter.
For each group you can set how playbacks in the group will behave. From the Playback Groups workspace, select the group to be edited on the left then press the Options tab at the bottom of the workspace.
Mutually Exclusive switches the exclusive mode on and off. This allows you to temporarily disable the exclusive action of a group without deleting the group.
Kill Point sets when other playbacks in the group will be killed when you fire a new playback:Fired - as soon as the playback passes the trigger pointFade Completed – when the new playback has completed its fade in time.
Kill Action sets whether the playbacks being killed will use Release rules or not.Follow Playback - each killed playback uses its own settings for release.Kill - playbacks are always killed without any release.Release – playbacks are always released using the settings in the mask and time belowRelease HTP – HTP channels are released but LTP channels are killed.
Release Mask, Release Time allow you to override the release settings for killed playbacks. If set to the default of Playback then the playback’s own settings are used.
Using the workspace options menu (button at the top of the window) you can set three different display modes for the Playback Groups workspace:
View Mode All – 2 panes with group buttons on the left and all the playbacks in each group shown on the right
View Mode Single – 2 panes with group buttons on the left, but only the playbacks in the currently selected group are shown on the right. Handy if you have groups with a lot of playbacks in each one.
View Mode Playbacks Only – Single pane with just the playbacks for each group shown.
You can assign a fader to control the master intensity of each fixture group. To do this you simply save (or move) the group button to a handle with a fader.
The Select button will then select fixtures in the group and holding down the select button gives you softkey options to filter the selection according to a pattern.
Press Options (or Options softkey) and then the blue select button above the fader to set the fader mode to the following:
- Scale master (proportional control). Scale masters can be set to variable scales of 100%, 200%, 400%, 600% and 1000%. The higher settings allow you to increase an intensity above its recorded level.
- HTP (override level if higher than current output)
- Limit (sets hard limit)
- Take Over (place fixture and its intensity in programmer when level matched)
- Disabled (ignore fader)
If the playback fader has a display area on the screen, the level and mode of the master will be shown.
When a group master is set to disabled or moved to a handle without a fader, it will become locked at the current fader level. Re-enable or move back to a fader to adjust the level.
Using Key Profiles, you can set different behaviour for the buttons of a group master -- the blue and grey buttons if it is on a fader handle, or the touch button if it's on screen.
- Flash Fixtures -- flashes the dimmer level of fixtures in the group to the level set by the group master fader, while the button is held
- Timed Flash -- as above, but fade in and out using fade times set using the "Edit Times" option for the group master
- Flash Master -- flashes the group master fader to full
- Timed Flash Master -- as above, but fade in and out using fade times
- Swop fixtures -- like Flash Fixtures, but turn off all other fixtures that aren't in the group
If a Flash Master is configured, this will also master the group flash.
You can release all masters by pressing Release then Release All Masters. This can be useful if something is being controlled by a master but you are not sure where it is.
The Scene Master allows you to preset an output state by firing a number of playbacks or making live changes, using the visualiser to see the effects but without anything happening on stage. When you are ready for the new state, you fade the Scene Master fader to the other end of its travel and the new state is output.
You assign a handle to be Scene Master by pressing Create Master (or from the Assign Masters button on the System menu).then
The Diamond 9 has a dedicated T-bar control and buttons for Scene Master, with an associated display to show the status.
The Scene Master is set to Live mode by default which means that all changes are immediately output as usual.
To enter preset mode, press the Select button of the Scene Master (or Enter/B below the T-bar on the Diamond 9). The display above the master will show "Preset" and the background turns purple. To exit preset mode and return to normal live operation, press the Select button again (or Exit/A below the T-bar on the Diamond 9).
Once you have entered preset mode, any changes you make - firing playbacks, stepping cue lists, applying palettes and so on - will only be shown on the visualiser and won't change the output. Everything you change for the preset will also turn purple on its display.
You can now smoothly fade all your preset changes to the output by fading the Scene Master to the other end of its travel. If times are programmed for cues or palettes they will also run. Once the fader has reached the end of the travel, the new state is "committed" to the output, or you can press the grey handle button (Commit on Diamond 9) to manually commit the new state. The Scene Master will remain in Preset mode until you change back to Live mode.
Normally the Scene Master will auto-reverse so you can just keep presetting new states, moving the fader alternately up and down. You can also set it to require you to move it back to zero each time - press Options (or Options softkey) then the Select button of the master to change the options:
Auto Commit and Invert Commits the changes once the fader has reached the end of travel. You can then preset a new state and fade the fader the other way to output it.
Auto Commit You always have to fade from 0 to 100% to output the new state. The changes are committed at 100% and you then have to lower the fader to 0% to preset the next state.
Manual Commit The new state does not commit at 100% and if you move the fader back to 0 the output state will go back to what it was before. You need to manually commit the changes using the grey button (the button can be changed using Key Profiles).
On the Diamond 9, there are additional Scene Master buttons Reset which clears all preset changes back to the current live state, and Preload which acts like a normal preload button for the preset changes, loading the LTP attributes.
A Scene Master can also be set on executor buttons or touch buttons in the Playbacks workspace. In this case, hold Avo (or Release) and press the button to enter or exit preset mode, and press the button on its own to commit the preset to the output, You can view the state of the Master by opening the Static Playbacks workspace.
You can assign the handle buttons to do different things using Key Profiles - the options are Exit scene mode, Enter scene mode, Commit changes, Commit changes and exit scene mode, Enter or Exit scene mode, Enter or commit scene mode.
- On Pearl Expert and Tiger Touch 1, you set a handle to Scene Master by switching to System mode using Avo and Disk together, then select Assign Masters.
Normally the Flash and Select buttons on a playback are set up so that pressing Flash will flash, and pressing Select will swop (solo) the playback.
- Flash adds the playback into the current output
- Swop turns off all other intensity output
The Flash button can also be set to Timed Flash which will use the pre-programmed timings of the cue when flashing -- for normal flash mode the timings are ignored.
You can reallocate the functions of the Flash and Select buttons on the console using Key Profiles. A useful alternative function is Preload which allows you to pre-position the attributes of the fixtures before you raise the playback fader, which is handy for avoiding unwanted movements (any fixtures which are already active in another playback will not change when you use Preload). You can also allocate Go and Stop buttons for cue lists and chases. To quickly change the key profile, hold Avo and press Edit Key Profile. The Sapphire Touch also has a configurable Black button for each fader, and a virtual fader (on the touch screen) can also have a black button.
The screen relating to each playback fader shows the allocated function of the blue and grey buttons.
You can set playbacks to high priority if you do not want them to be overridden by other playbacks using the same fixtures. For example, if you have a couple of fixtures acting as a spotlight, but they are also programmed into some colour washes, you probably want the spotlight cue to take priority over the colour washes.
If you need more playbacks and you're happy to operate them on a touchscreen fader, you can use the Virtual Faders workspace window (double press Open/View then press Virtual Faders from the window select buttons). This provides 10 more paged faders which work exactly the same as the hardware playback faders. A roller display at the left side allows you to select different pages.
Press thebutton at the top of the screen to
Show or hide the page select roller
Show or hide the blue, grey and black buttons
Set how many faders are shown per page. This can be set to 5, 10 or 15 to match the playback fader layout on the console hardware.
On the Tiger Touch, as well as the 10 playback faders across the bottom of the console, there are 10 further playbacks on the top right of the console. These are not affected by the playback page buttons and so are useful for memories you use a lot, such as par can washes, basic stage illumination or smoke machines.
You can switch to different pages for the preset playbacks using a factory-preloaded macro in two of the Macro/Executor buttons. This macro is loaded with the Personality Library, if you do not see the page macros you need to update the library.
Sometimes you might want to keep a playback accessible on a handle no matter which page you are on. The Handle Paging option in the Options menu lets you do that without having to copy the playback onto multiple pages.
Locked ensures the playback always appears on that handle no matter what page is selected. Any other playbacks programmed on that handle on other pages will not be accessible.
Transparent Lock means the playback will appear on the current page only if the handle is empty on that page. If the handle is in use on the new page, then that playback will appear instead of the locked one. This can be useful if you only need the locked playback to appear on certain pages but wish to reuse the handle on other pages.
You can also lock Palettes stored on the grey handle buttons, and macros stored on the macro/executor buttons which is useful with the Macro page change buttons.
Lock options are also available for master faders.
The Active Playbacks window shows details of which playbacks are active. This provides an easy way to see what is currently running. To open this window double press Open/View then select Active Playbacks, or use the shortcut Open/View + Off.
The top line of the button shows the page number and tells you where on the desk the playback is stored. The second line shows the legend, and the third line shows which attributes are affected by the playback.
Click on a playback to instantly kill it. You can also press Playback Options followed by the playback in this window to change parameters of the playback.
If you want to program palettes or cues using the visualiser without affecting the look on the stage, you can set the console to Blind mode. Just press the Blind button (on consoles which don't have a dedicated button, hold down the Avo button and select Blind).
To preview a playback, you need to set the playback into Blind mode -- hold the Blind button and press the playback select button. Repeat this to restore the playback to Live mode. You can also set Blind mode in playback Options.
You can convert Blind output to Live output with a fade. This is useful to set up a live state in blind mode then output it without having to save to a playback. It also allows you to select multiple palettes then fade to them all at once. (Scene Master is probably an easier way of doing this however).
To convert blind to live, type a number to set fade time then press the Blind button.
If any attribute fade times have been set in the programmer, these will be used instead of the fade time you type.
If you have not had as much programming time as you would have liked, you might need to make up some additional effects during the show. This is sometimes called "busking", and is where the fun starts!
You can create instant variations by recalling palette values to modify your existing cues. Palette values can have fade times saved with them, or you can set a fade at show time for added effect.
- Select some fixtures which are already in use on stage.
- Type "2" (or any time, in seconds) on the numeric keypad.
- Touch a Palette button to recall a palette.
- The selected fixtures will change to the new palette over a time of 2 seconds.
If the palette contains programmed times, you can change the Key Profile of the palette button to set whether the programmed times will be used or not. (Press Avo + Key Profiles, then Palettes to set the key profile). Options are Palette is fired ignoring its times or Palette is fired with its times. A time entered manually as above will always override a programmed time.
When a fade time is entered on the numeric keypad, you can also change the Fixture Overlap using the Overlap softkey. This allows you to create "roll" or "peel" effects when using a series of fixtures. With overlap=100%, all fixtures change at the same time. If overlap=50%, the second fixture will not start its fade until the first fixture is half way (50%) through fading. The order of the fixtures is set by the order in which you selected them.
If a fade time or an overlap are set this way they are applied only to the immediate next palette recall. If you want to use a certain time or overlap for the next few palette recalls then set the values in the Palettes menu: press Palette, and set Master Time and Master Overlap with the softkeys. Also factory macros are provided for some most common values, see Master Time for Palettes.
If you apply a palette as a "Quick Palette" (i.e. without selecting any fixtures) then it will be overridden by the next cue (so if you fade to green using a Quick Palette, then fire a cue which sets those fixtures blue, they will go blue). If you apply a palette after selecting fixtures, it will go into the programmer and override any subsequent cues until you press Clear.
When programming your palettes, group all the colour palettes in one area of the console, position palettes in another area, and so on. This helps you to find them when the show is running and the pressure is on.
If you are lighting a band, make position palettes for every person on stage so you can spotlight them for those unplanned solos.
You can use the Off function when programming to set some cues to only affect position, and other cues to set colours, gobos, add shapes, and so on. By combining two or more cues you can produce a much wider range of effects than if all your cues set all the attributes. However, for this to work well you need to make sure you know what attribute is going to be affected by each cue; as if you fire two "colour only" cues then nothing is going to light up.