Update: ProPresentor Control for ETC Consoles

Just wanted to put out a quick update on using ProPresentor with ETC Eos series consoles. Some recent changes to OSCulator have created problems sending OSC commands to the console after receiving MIDI notes out of ProPresentor. Luckily with Eos 2.5 there is now a way to take commands from MIDI notes directly into the console. Here is the information from the ETC forums: 

1. Create a new event list in Tab 11 (Show Control) (Event 1/ Enter)
2. Set the type to be {Network}
3. Set External to {On}
4. <Event> [1] {MIDI String} {Note On} 
5. Pick the note, octave, and channel. You could use Any if the octave or channel may vary.
6. Set the velocity to the target velocity, or set the velocity threshold to the minimum velocity value for it to respond. You could set it to 1, so it would respond to a note with any velocity.
7. Press OK
8. Add the action as Macro 1 (or whatever macro number you want it to fire).

Full instructions can be found in the newest Eos Show Control Supplement starting around page 39.

I've also set up a series of Macros doing pretty much the same thing that OSCulator was doing. The only additional hardware needed is a USB MIDI dongle to plug into your computer and the console.

Also, here is a show file with only the show control events and macros needed to get this working along with updated simple use instructions.

ProPresentor Control for ETC Ion

UPDATE- This may not work properly anymore see this instead.

One of the the church's that  I work for regularly uses ProPresenter to control their lyrics/ graphics along with an ETC Ion for lighting. They often have problems staffing the lighting position for normal Sunday services yet want to be able to create some different lighting looks through out the service. With the most recent versions of the Eos software ETC added OSC command functionality to the console allowing just about anything to be remotely triggered. OSC (Open Sound Control)  is somewhat of a successor to the original MIDI protocol that sends data over network connections in a much more user readable format for editing. Through ETC's implementation of the protocol you can get an Eos/ Ion console to remotely complete almost any action you could while sitting at the console. The full guide to what ETC has allowed users to do with OSC is available in their latest Show Control User Guide.

With the added communication module ProPresenter has the ability to send MIDI notes when a slide is advanced making it possible to control external gear. Unfortunately, the Ion is not able to receive MIDI notes and perform actions with them, only MIDI commands. However, the implementation of OSC commands it is possible to make these MIDI notes be useful. A software called OSCulator can run on the same computer as ProPresenter and translate the MIDI notes to OSC commands and send them to the Ion. This unlocks the ability for ProPresenter to control the Ion without having a separate lighting operator present.

In discussions with the worship leader, we were able to figure out the best way for the console and ProPresenter to work together based on their normal usage. For most services only a few looks are needed which could be programmed at any point through out the week and submasters for various areas are brought up throughout the service. We wanted to be able to make this without the need for an extra volunteer operator. To implement this, we decided to use the person running video to help control the the lighting. When setting this up we decided to use the main cue list to control the scenic elements and background while the band, house, and other key lights were still controlled by subs as was being done previously. In order to make this work we decided to make cues 1-200 recallable with MIDI notes and subs 1-10 controllable at 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and Full. The decision behind the cue number rather than the "GO" button was that it enabled the slides to be mixed around and not cause a ton of problems if things happened out of order. In the end we did include the GO and BACK functionalities in case we needed to run point cues through ProPresenter control. One setback that I found was that I was unable to control the timing of subs with the OSC sub commands so I ended up using macro commands to set the sub levels even though the console lacks moving faders.

The rest of this post is a how to guide. It is more geared towards ProPresenter but references this guide from the ETC forums by Paul Toben which is referring to QLab which I would suggest following for the initial setup for the computer and console. I'll stick mostly to the ProPresenter side with some OSCulator info thrown in.

Items Need:

  • ETC Eos based console running v2.3 or later
  • Mac OSX based computer
  • Possibly a second NIC card for connecting to your lighting console depending on how the computer is set up
  • ProPresenter with either the MIDI or Full Communications Module

Setup:

  • Ensure OSCulator and ProPresenter with the MIDI/ Communications Module are installed on your computer
  • Complete the network setup as described in the Paul Toben guide
  • In ProPresenter create a MIDI device by following the instructions on pages 126 & 127 of the ProPresenter user guide
  • I forgot to grab a screen shot of this but its fairly simple
  • I chose to name my device OSCulator which appears in the rest of the guide
  • Select a slide and add a not
  • Right click and select “Add Cue> Communication Cue> OSCulator> MIDI Note On”
  • Select the channel and note and send
  • An item should appear in OSCulator
  • This is only the channel which you will want to expand to give yourself more option
  • Highlight the note/ pitch section and "Edit> Demux"
  • Keep changing the notes in ProPresenter and more lines should appear
  • If you change to another channel you'll have to Demux again
  • Keep sending notes to OSCulator until you're satisfied
  • You'll get something like this without the Event Type and Values filled in
  • Set the Event type to OSC Routing
  • Set the value based on what you would like by clicking on the blank field
  • This will bring up the routing table 

  

  • Click the add new address section and type in the desired values in the new window
  • Examples:
  • Go to Cue #= /eos/cue/(list)/(cue)/fire
  • This executes with the time applied to the cue, not the standard goto cue time
  • Go= /eos/key/go_0
  • Back= /eos/key/stop
  • Macro #= /eos/macro/#/fire
  • For subs my macro is "Sub 1 @ Full Time 3 Enter", running in the background mode
  • In my file I used macros 151-200 because that was available in the base show fil

 

  • Test sending note
  • The box by the given note should flash when the command is sent from ProPresenter
  • On the console if you open the Diagnostics Tab (Tab 99) and set it to display incoming OSC you should see the items incomin
  • If you see the notes incoming and you see the message coming in make sure the velocity on ProPresenter is 1 or greater
  • If nothing is coming in check your network setup
  • Once you are sure setup is done you may want to lock OSCulator through "Routing>Lock Routing"

Hopefully this is helpful in getting you started using ProPresenter and OSC. Here is a ZIP file containing the various manuals, a usage guide once set everything is set up, and my OSCulator file withe cues 1-200 mapped and subs 1-10 mapped as well.

Time Code Playback via Ableton Live

This last winter, while working on a Christmas Service, I came across a fairly common scenario. A church that I do a fair amount of work/ volunteering for wanted to synchronize lights and video for one number as well as lighting for a another show piece song. Normally this is no big deal, but I was unable to be there for the actual event and they were not equipped with any of the methods for generating/ playing time code that I had used previously.

After doing some research I found I way to make it all work. In order to provide a click track to the band and well as some additional audio tracks, the worship leader was using Ableton. Ableton is a DAW that is well suited very for playback of multiple tracks to various locations making it great for live work. The tracks can be used for samples, loops, or instruments which can be routed to outputs as needed and started through cues. I ended up loaning the worship director my audio interface a Focusrite Saffire 6 (now outdated, current model is Sacrlet 2i4) so he could output more than the usual two he uses for worship. We inserted another track and dropped some premade SMPTE .wav strips for him to playback along with the click track and samples. After some adjustments to their start as locations everything was great. This enabled him to send a SMPTE track to the church's ETC Ion which we translated to MTC on the console end using a Horrita TR-100.

The SMPTE stripes that we ended up using were the pregenerated in one hour increments (song 1= 01:00:00:00, song 2= 02:00...) for each song. In order to get these stripes I used a SMPTE generator website with the flavor I wanted and gave 10 minute stripes to the worship director to add to each song. Ten minutes may have been a little long but I wanted to be safe. I could have used Reaper to generate the strips but the website was faster. Another option we looked into was ClipSMPTE. It appears to actually generate time code on the fly but we didn't have Ableton's Max for Live edition to test it out.

The final piece of the puzzle came from the video playback. For lyrics and motion background the church uses ProPresenter which has the ability to send and receive Midi triggers. We ended up using an Ableton midi track to send a trigger to start the ProPresenter video cue. This did require an extra upgrade back to ProPresenter to make everything work but it is now used often by the church to advance lyric slides during worship. In order to send the trigger we created a private Wi-Fi network to send the commands over. Here's a tutorial from MusicRadar on how to set the network up. Another possibility would have been to use a longer SMPTE preroll from Ableton and have the Ion send a wired trigger a couple of seconds after it locked on.

For a look at how this worked on at Easter take a look here.

ETC Ion/ Eos LTC/Midi Playback

A common feature of most moving light consoles is the ability to take in external time code for synchronization of lighting with other sources such as audio or video. ETC's Eos line is no exception though it often requires external gear such as a Show Control Gateway to actually take in SMPTE LTC. Having one or more the the gateways on your network opens up a whole set of options as to how and where you can get various kids of external time code from. Unfortunately the price of the gateway can put it out of reach in some situations. Luckily, several of the consoles in the line offer MIDI ports on the console which can be used to get external time code into the console through a little bit of adaptation. ETC also offers the ability to run an internal clock on the console which can be usefully if you want to use the console itself to trigger external events.

ETC does not include the full so control information in the manual that they ship with the console. The full list of operations relating to time code can be found in ETC's Eos Show Control Supplement which provides detailed instructions on how to use the Show Control tab (pictured below). This can be brought up by opening a new tab and selecting show control or by pressing [Displays]><More SK>>{Show Control}.

The first step is to create a list and select all the information you want it to respond to through the soft key options are presented. The best place to look for this is in the ETC supplement starting around page 13 as it could potentially change from version to version.

In the picture I have two lists, one for each of the numbers in that show that were time code driven. I prefer to do this as you can write macros to turn on that particular list. I would manually take the first cue at the top of the song enabling the time code and giving the console a chance to sync with the time code. The macro is nice because it can also prevent accidental playback when working on something else.

As I mentioned, it is possible to take advantage of a SMPTE input using one of the consoles with the Midi ports through a little bit of creative conversion. In all of these cases  I'm assuming you have an external SMPTE LTC time code source and are converting it MTC (MIDI Time Code) for the console to use. One of the most accessible ways of doing it is using a computer with a 1/8" microphone jack (or a USB Audio Interface), a USB MIDI device, and Reaper software. Using Reaper you can create a MIDI time code generator track which is triggered by SMPTE coming in through the audio interface. For more explanation on this see my earlier post about using Reaper with Time Code. If you don't want to use your computer and the ETC gateway is financially out of reach there are other options as well. Horita's TR-100 offers SMPTE LTC> MTC translation and offers a large read back display which can be helpful. Another useful product is a JLCooper PPS-2 which can serve as a master clock if needed. Finally MOTU offers a variety of devices that can do all kinds of fun things with MIDI and other audio related protocols depending on the flavor of device you use.