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.

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.